I Want My Free (As In Speech) Ebooks!
February 5, 2010 7:43 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find a good selection of DRM-free Science Fiction and Fantasy ebooks in ePub format?

I'd like to start expanding my digital library, and I'm strongly opposed to DRM-encumbered books. I'd like to be paying the authors of the works I'm reading, so I'd rather not have answers that direct me to torrent sites, only trustworthy ebook vendors.

Additionally, I'm not in the US, so US-only (or nearly US-only; Penguin, for example, sells Saturn's Children in the US for $7.99 and in Canada for $27.99. WTF!) stores don't help me out a lot.

Oh, and one more thing: How can I tell from a store's website if an ebook will have DRM? Failing that, how can I tell if I buy a single ebook whether they have DRM, because I suppose I can try a service out and determine after the fact that I'll never buy from them again if they sell me DRM.

I am aware of the Baen Free Library, although I don't know what their DRM policy is. I'm interested in other publishers. Macmillan comes to mind right away, because of the Amazon flap, but I'd like to get a few more sources, too.
posted by ChrisR to Shopping (6 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I am aware of the Baen Free Library, although I don't know what their DRM policy is

No DRM. Over a hundred free books in multiple formats. The not-free books are more reasonably priced than Amazon's.
posted by Ery at 7:50 AM on February 5, 2010

The Fantasy and Science Fiction categories at Manybooks.net includes hundreds of DRM-free books in various formats, including ePub. Mostly classics (I love E. Nesbit). Other similar sites probably have mostly the same books.
posted by Ery at 8:12 AM on February 5, 2010

Best answer: For major publishers, it's pretty much Baen's WebScription site or nothing. They do have some titles by other publishers. One option for you may be to buy DRM-encumbered titles and strip them of DRM, which is handy for the occasional need to change formats. If your objection's more philosophical than practical (and I think both objections are totally legitimate) your best bet may be to investigate small publishers.

You shouldn't have to pay to find out whether an ebook will have DRM. There will likely be some indication that the title is "secure," and most ebook sellers have good information about what encumbered and unencumbered formats they carry. Check the site's FAQs.

Also, MobileRead's wiki has a pretty good list of different ebook stores, with some info about which stores have DRM-free titles. Good luck!
posted by asperity at 8:14 AM on February 5, 2010

As mentioned, the Baen Free Library downloads are actually serviced by Baen's WebScription site, so you can get a good preview.

A lot of times, you can tell by the file type, as this Wikipedia page is very good at explaining. The ones at WebScription come in a variety of formats for different readers.
posted by bookdragoness at 8:28 AM on February 5, 2010

Best answer: SF Signal has a regular feature of posting free sf online and free speculative fiction online is dedicated to it. Here's another publisher with a free library. These are all free as in beer as well as speech, but most of them are short fiction.

On Webscription, be sure to check out the Night Shade Books bundles.

On Fictionwise do an advanced search for format multiformat (their code for DRM-unencumbered) and category science fiction.
posted by Zed at 9:09 AM on February 5, 2010 [1 favorite]

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